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Kona Grill jettisons co-CEO system

Kona Grill co-CEO Steve Schussler resigns

Marcus Jundt assumes full CEO responsibilities for the brand

Steve Schussler has resigned as co-CEO at Kona Grill Inc., the grill and sushi bar concept, and co-CEO Marcus Jundt has taken over full leadership responsibilities as CEO, the company said Thursday.

Schussler and Jundt, both board members at the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based casual-dining brand, took over as co-CEOs in early November. Schussler also is leaving the board, the company said in an announcement.

Schussler will focus on his Golden Valley, Minn.-based Schussler Creative Inc., which has developed such restaurant concepts as Rainforest Café, T-Rex Cafe, Yak & Yeti and The Boathouse.

Jundt, who earlier served as the company’s CEO from February 2006 to May 2009, said in a statement Thursday that Schussler’s creativity and expertise in customer service had been an asset to Kona Grill.

“We are sad to see him leave,” Jundt said, “but understand the commitments that he has to his existing restaurants.”

Schussler added, “I have enjoyed my years of service as a director of Kona Grill and enjoyed working with Marcus Jundt as co-CEO in helping revitalize the Kona Grill brand.”

Jundt and Schussler succeeded Jim Kuhn who had been in the CEO role for just a little more than three months.

Their co-CEO announcement came as the company released third-quarter earnings.

For that period, ended Sept. 30, Kona Grill’s loss widened to $5.1 million, or 39 cents a share, from $3.3 million, or 33 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago. Revenues fell 15.7 percent, to $37.4 million, from $44.4 million in the prior-year quarter. Same-store sales fell 14.1 percent in the quarter.

Kona Grill said this month it hadreceived a notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market that it hasn’t complied with market rules, falling below the listing standard of $15 million minimum market value, and could face being delisted.

Kona Grill ranked No. 195 in U.S. systemwide sales among the chains in Nation’s Restaurant News’ most recent Top 200, booking $176.3 million for the fiscal year ended in December 2017.

Kona Grill has 42 locations in 22 states and Puerto Rico, and it has one franchised location each in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Vaughan, Canada. 

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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